Burnout has become such a well loved franchise to gamers that the mere mention of Burnout lights up people's faces. So needless to say, I was pretty damn excited to hear that a new Burnout game was in the works. That is up until EA actually showed off what Burnout Crash! is.
I got some hands-on time with Burnout Crash! at EA's Summer Showcase yesterday and even a day later, I'm still not sure if I actually liked or hated what I played.
Burnout Crash! (PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade [Previewed]
Developer: Criterion Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
To be released: Fall 2011
If there was one flaw with Burnout Paradise, it was that it didn't have the beloved Crash mode that people adored in previous Burnout games. Burnout Crash! focuses on just the Crash mode and it's all presented from a top-down perspective. A small team developed Crash! through XNA with the main focus being on the easy to pick up gameplay above everything else.
Crash! is definitely easy in that the controls are just steering and blowing up. That's it. Each mode starts off with you racing into the map until you've hit a car. After which you'll begin to blow yourself up with the A button (on the Xbox 360 controller) in whatever direction your holding the analog stick.
The goal is to score as much points possible so you want to hit cars, buildings, and any other objects you can find in the levels. Exploding is limited based on a meter that fills up over time but causing damage fills this meter up quicker. Special vehicles will come along that offer more points and causing chain reactions will get you more points too. It all has a very pinball feel to it, right down to the sound effects and different music that plays.
I tried out Burnout Crash! with the Kinect as well and it's like a very retarded game of hopscotch. You'll hold your hands up in front of you at first to steer. Once you've crashed, you'll jump in different directions in order to blow your vehicle up. For instance, jump forward and your car will explode upwards on the screen. Overall I think the Kinect feature is very forgettable. You'll maybe try it once, feel stupid jumping around like a kangaroo that's been hit upside the head and then go back to standard controls.
While all 18 levels are pretty simple in terms of visuals, they are actually all based or inspired by levels in past Burnout games. As for the cars, there are five cars based on Burnout Paradise vehicles plus two new ones like the new garbage truck.
There are also three game modes, the main one being Road Trip. This is the mode you'll want to play to unlock everything in the game and the main objective is to keep the crashes going as long as possible. You'll lose if you've let five cars escape. In Rush Hour mode, you have 90 seconds of free-for-all action. Once the time ends, everything blows up. In Pileup mode, the goal is to keep things on fire otherwise the challenge ends.
Autolog will be part of Crash! and will feature a new addition called Autolog Challenges. There's no actual multiplayer so instead you'll be sending head-to-head challenges to people on your friends list in order to beat or maintain your high-scores on stages. The one good thing that Crash! has going for it is this Autolog feature. Having leaderboards against just your friends is a good motivation factor to keep on replaying games over multiple times.
I think the name Burnout is what's throwing me off on Crash! Just hearing the name Burnout presents such high expectations that part of me thinks Criterion would have been better off simply calling this Crash! When you think of the name of a well established racing title, you expect an awesome racing game, right? What's next? A racing franchise that introduces on foot sections? Oh wait ...
Actually, now that I've gotten this far in my preview, I know exactly what I didn't like about Crash! It's way too slow. Cars are coming in slow and the time it takes to explode takes to long. I have horrible patience when it comes to games as it is, but Crash! just felt like it was too slow. When I think cars exploding I think Michael Bay explosions everywhere hitting you hard and fast. That's what I want from Crash! Offer an ADHD mode and I'll be all about Crash!
One last thing to add: I asked about a Wii version of the game and it doesn't look like Criterion is all that interested. It's a different story on the mobile side though as Criterion wouldn't out right deny the possibility. Crash! feels like it would fit perfectly on the iPad, no?